Aging. Aging gracefully. Aging well. We are all getting older, and lately it’s been dominating my thoughts. Retirement and all it’s components – financial planning, our mortgage, when I might be able to retire, what retirement might look like, what retirement might feel like.
They say age is just a number. For me it’s a number that carries a whole lot of big choices and decisions. I feel unprepared. Not completely unprepared, but still not ready. Being a planner, I have to have at least a framework of flexible expectations to feel comfortable going forward. There are things I can control – how much we strive to save for retirement, getting the mortgage paid off before I cease working a full-time job, thinking about what we would like to do once I am no longer tethered – and a few big things I cannot. The days pass I grow older; it happens to everyone. But I need not feel my age so much, or leave myself completely vulnerable to the problems that can crop up coasting into senior citizenship.
Left to my own devices, I am not doing bad. I eat better now. I exercise daily. I get plenty of rest. I see my doctors regularly and (mostly) have a routine for taking necessary medications. I have a great husband, fantastic support system, and wonderful circle of family and friends. Other than reading and the occasional needlecraft project, I do not have a lot of hobbies. Working seems to consume a lot of my available time. Perhaps when I am no longer committed to a full-time job I will develop new hobbies, or pursue the hiking and exercise adventures more heartily with M.
But it feels inadequate. I am ahead of many I know in my age range, yet I know I still have weight to lose and blood sugar to control without so much daily anxiety and weekly frustration in one form or another. I need professional help and intervention. *sigh*
M has wanted to renew our gym membership for the last few months. We have a pretty impressive home set-up with the pool and spa outside, my rower, the arc trainer, a rack of free weights, and a total gym – all of which one or both of us use from daily to several days per week. But there is specialized equipment at the gym that we have no room for in the house and will never prioritize in the budget. Aside from that, I think we both kind of miss the social aspects of being at the gym. I have another 18 months of membership at my local yoga studio, having taken advantage of a periodic special of buy one year, get a second year free subscription, but I can understand his desire to be back in the weight room and almost understand the allure of the steam room and sauna.
I have been mulling it over from a financial perspective as well thinking about what I want for myself from going back. While I am doing better than ever with my diet and exercise, I recognize that I could do better if I (1) set some more specific goals, and (2) I sought the experience and specialized knowledge of a personal trainer. The gal I had used previously – a type 1 diabetic with a degree in kinesiology – is still there and would happily work with me again. M and I went down yesterday and agreed to a one-year commitment, which also came with 4 personal training sessions. That should be adequate to get me started again, but I am realistic in understanding that I will have to carve out some financial support for additional sessions in the coming months.
But first things first – setting up a first appointment and then establishing a schedule for these appointments. My goal is to establish a sustainable routine for strength training and then tweaking it/rounding it out with the balance of these appointments.
There is that side of the equation. It seems relatively settled. I’ll go to the gym a few times per week and practice/work on the machines to build my strength and prettify my muscles. Or so is the goal in my mind. I will also continue my rowing/arc training cardio at home, because I’m already in that routine. Off gym nights I’ll go to yoga. Weekends, I walk with my neighbor every weekend and do a lot of stuff with M, so I’ll not be on the couch eating chips and swilling soda.
We shall see how that works out for me this summer.
On the food, so much harder. I eat pretty well most of the time, but one slip and I’m going WEEE! down the slippery slope of sugar and carbs. A great thing for me in June is that (1) M is grilling like crazy, so we have chicken and beef several nights per week, and (2) M does not make side dishes – that’s my contribution to cooking and I can usually restrain myself to salads and vegetables during the week. Once the guests start arriving there will be pasta and breads and potatoes galore, but it’s a lot easier for me to show restraint when I’m not preparing the food. When I’m cooking I know what I like (lower salt, no pepper, and limited other spicy spices) and prepare my own stuff in all it’s bland glory and spice it up for everyone else. I do not expect that from our guests when they are here, and they have learned I am quite content eating greens and vegetables and avoiding the spicey stuff they all enjoy.
Lunches are always hard, because sandwiches get boring and the allure of junk food is always right there. Taking leftovers helps – I make a salad for lunch and portion off some of whatever M has grilled many nights – but it does not always overcome my weakness for cheeseburgers and french fries. My neighbor works a few buildings down from me 2 days per week, though, and we have decided to fight our temptations by walking during lunch hours those days. It should help. Heck, just having a meal plan helps, if only I can get it together and get it done.
Other than wearing sunscreen while out and about, I’m not sure what else I can or should be doing. June is my physical month, though, so I shall confer with my doc about anything else I’m missing. He’s going to tell me I’m doing great, my A1c and blood sugar readings are heading in the right (lower) direction, to continue with at least 30 minutes of walking or cardio daily, etc., etc., etc. I do know last I checked everything else the labs reported was great – cholesterol, kidney function, etc.
Now that we have done our wills/trust, we are on our way with the financial planning thing, and I am actively battling the weight gain and overall slogginess that seems to come with the passing years, it seems likely M and I area as prepared as we can be for whatever the future holds. I just want to face it head-on and with as much overall good physical, financial, and mental health. I always wonder how much is enough, and right now, I believe we am paying attention and doing a lot of the right things. From where we sit right now, our future seems bright.